Christmas commodities are seen at a booth of the Yiwu International Trade Mart in Yiwu, east China's Zhejiang Province, June 26, 2019. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)
HANGZHOU, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- When the Christmas season is here, relevant industries in China, dampened by the global spread of COVID-19 last year, have been recovering, yet challenges still remain.
About 80 percent of the world's Christmas products are exported from Yiwu, a global leading small commodities market in east China's Zhejiang Province. This year, Christmas decoration manufacturers there saw rising orders.
The Yiwu Christmas Products Industry Association, with more than 200 members, said orders increased by 30 percent from last year.
The total number of orders accounted for about 80 percent of that in 2019, indicating recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic fallout, said Cai Qinliang, secretary-general of the association.
Dongyang Weijiule Crafts Co., Ltd., a Christmas water lanterns producer, reported its sales volume bounced back to the 2019 level at 30 million yuan (about 4.7 million U.S. dollars).
Export accounts for about 80 percent of Weijiule's business. To counter pandemic-induced disruptions, the company has stayed in close contact with overseas clients to ensure the delivery of orders since 2020.
"Overseas demand gradually revived, and orders flocked to us in February, a month earlier than usual," said Qiu Xuemei, general sales manager of the company, adding that she considered it as a relief but also a source of pressure.
"The pandemic made overseas purchasers too cautious to replenish their stock last year so that many of them saw supply fall short of demand," Qiu explained. "However, the earlier they place the orders, the heavier the pressure we face due to rising raw materials and sea transportation costs."
The rationing of electricity supply has also extended the production cycle, causing possible delivery delays, Qiu noted. Products that failed to catch up with the Christmas season would become an excess inventory of overseas clients, which may drag down their demand next year.
"Also, the longer production time squeezed our time of developing new products to cater to new preferences which always spawn year after year," said Qiu.
"Some enterprises slowed down their pace of production while facing those uncertainties, but I believe that the resilient supply chain in China can always be a beacon of hope," said Cai.
According to Cai, China has a mass of upstream enterprises in the Christmas decoration industry, which can provide a great convenience for Yiwu-based manufacturers while effective control of the COVID-19 also weaves a safety net.
"Under the uncertainties brought by the pandemic, companies need to develop e-commerce and information technologies to catch up with the times," said Cai, adding that upgrading products is also important.
Christmas tree pendants, Santa figures and snow globes thronged shelves and counters of Cai's store near the Yiwu International Trade Market as usual. "No matter what happens, people always need some festive atmosphere," he said. ■